Monday, November 24, 2014

The Wonder Dogs Get a Bath

The Wonder Dogs went with me to the barn this afternoon. One of my friends had challenged me to a Work Week Hustle, a friendly competition to get the most steps during the work week. This afternoon, I checked the step counter and I was a little behind. It's not that I'm competitive or anything, but I did have a daily step goal to meet, so I had to get some walking done. 

Once or twice to the barn and back was about all the Wonder Dogs could stand before they found a more interesting distraction. Unfortunately, that interesting distraction was soft, smelly, and still steaming in the cow pasture. They had a grand time! The stench was awful, and their appearance was even worse.  

Both dogs were shocked when I refused to let them in the house. Mamie ran back to the kitchen door and started scratching, desperate to come in. I opened the door, scooped her up, and headed to the sink. She whimpered, twisted, wheezed, and jumped around like I was killing her! I could barely hold her for all the jumping, which was, frankly, a disgusting experience because of the  smell and grossness. I had dressed in my polka-dotted rubber raincoat but even that was not enough. By the time Mamie was clean, I was also soaked. 

Maggie, on the other hand, let me bring her in and bathe her with not a single complaint. She was as good as could be, as you would expect from the original Wonder Dog. 

There's quite a contrast between the two when it comes to bath time clean up. Maggie likes to get dirty but she doesn't like to stay dirty. Mamie is just wide open.  She wants to get dirty, stay dirty, and get dirtier. As long as she doesn't have to have a bath, she's happy. 

We are, unfortunately, also a little casual about getting the dirt of this world and the soil of sin into our lives. We are often as cantankerous as Mamie about getting it out of our lives. There's an old hymn that says "sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow." Sin does leave a stain in our hearts that only Christ can cleanse, and having a clean heart feels wonderful! Why, then, do we so often act like Mamie, throwing a fit about removing the stain that sin has caused and refusing to relinquish its power in our lives? It is better to be cleansed and forgiven, but you can't always tell it from the way we behave. What is it about the stench of sin that is so appealing? Why do we struggle so hard to keep our sin? 

When I look at the grace with which Maggie accepted her bath, I think we, like Maggie, may just need to be a little older in our faith and a bit wiser. If we want to be right with God, however, we must accept His cleansing with grace.  Insisting on keeping the stench and stain of sin will never do, and, truthfully, we can't expect God to tolerate it. Friends, if there is something in your life that is as displeasing to God as the Wonder Dogs' cow pooh roll is to me, why not let God have it? Let Him cleanse you and make your heart as white as snow. 

Maggie has learned an important lesson. No one snuggles with a dog that's covered in cow pooh. A clean, sweet smelling dog is another matter entirely. A bath makes more snuggling possible. If a doggie bath can yield such a sweet benfit, just think what intimacy can follow the cleansing of a soul!
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